Young Bui, DDS
30 East 40th Street Suite 1201
New York, NY 10016

Are Root Canals Always Painful?

Are root canals always painful? If you are suffering from pain due to a dead tooth or deep gum infection, you are in serious trouble. Ignoring signs like toothache, sensitivity, swollen, or painful gums can deteriorate your oral health and cause immense discomfort.

Is a root canal always painful?

It is commonly believed that the procedure of the root canal, especially the part of removing the pulp, is painful. There was a time when the root canal was too painful, and some patients went with tooth extraction as the better alternative.

are root canals always painful

Now, pain medications reduce pain to bearable levels. Now, dental techniques and instruments are also of superior quality as compared to those used before, making the surgery less invasive and less painful. Root canal treatments have a success rate of 95%, and most treatments last a lifetime.

What is the root canal, and when do you need one?

The root canal is basically the removal of the pulp of the tooth, after which the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Your endodontist will perform the root canal to repair or save a damaged or decayed tooth.  A root canal becomes very necessary when the pulp of the tooth becomes damaged. The pulp is the part of the teeth that contains the nerves and the blood vessels. Following are the signs that can indicate the need for having a root canal:

  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold items
  • Severe toothache
  • Tenderness and swelling in the gums
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Persistent pimples on the gums

What is the procedure for root canal?

The root canal requires one or more scheduled visits to an endodontist. The first step for the root canal is an X-ray to view the shape of the tooth and the damage in the pulp. Taking an X-ray before the root canal is necessary as it will reveal whether there is an infection in the surrounding bone. Knowing the presence of infection is crucial to repair the tooth through the root canal.


Next, the dentist will use local anesthesia to numb the area of the tooth.  In some cases, the anesthesia may not be necessary as the nerve is dead, and the process is minimally invasive, but most dentists still use anesthesia for the patient to stay relaxed and comfortable.

Application of the rubber dam

Then the dentist will apply a rubber dam around the area of your tooth. The application of the rubber dam is necessary for several reasons. The layer of rubber dam or sheet provides an aseptic operating condition to the area keeping it free and dry from saliva and other oral contamination.

Rubber dam also facilitates the use of medicaments to clean the root area. It protects the patient from inhaling or ingesting the instruments and substances used in the treatment.

Root Canal

Then, your dentist will drill an access hole in the affected tooth with the dental drill. The hole is made into the enamel and dentin of the tooth. Drilling helps to remove the pulp, bacteria, and debris from the tooth. The cleaning out process uses a series of root files that are placed inside the access hole and works down the length of the tooth to abrade the sides of root canals. The debris is periodically flush away using either water or sodium hypochlorite.

root canal pain


After the cleaning of the tooth, your endodontist will need to seal the pulp. In some cases, there will be a one week gap for the sealing of the tooth. When there is an infection, the dentist will put medication in the tooth to clear the bacteria. The dentist will also place a temporary filling during the one weak gap to avoid any chances of further infection.

For sealing,   the dentist will use a filling rubber material called gutta-percha. The dentist will insert the gutta-percha into the cleaned root along with a sealing cement.

The final step may often need to be the restoration of the tooth. The dentist will put a crown or crown post on the tooth.

Is there an alternative to root canal?

When the tooth and its pulp is damaged, the root canal is the only option to remove the pulp and prevent tooth decay. However, if you are looking for another option, then tooth extraction is the only alternative to the root canal.

The options for tooth extraction are an implant, bridge, or partial denture. In most cases, the extraction of the tooth is more painful than the root canal. Plus, tooth extraction is more expensive and has a longer recovery time than the root canal.

However, there are cases when root canal and tooth extraction both are necessary. The damage to the pulp and the root gets to the extent that the tooth is badly decayed or dead. In such cases, the tooth cannot work and has to be removed, and then the root canal is performed. Otherwise, if the damage to the tooth is less and the tooth can be saved by the root canal, then there is no need for an extraction.

A root canal is a better option as opposed to tooth extraction. Removing a natural tooth creates a gap and can weaken other teeth around the gap.

Do you experience severe toothache and other problems with your teeth and gums? If yes then call us today 646-434-1481. We at Byrant Park Endodontics have the best endodontics of NYC for root canal treatment, ensuring quick and effective treatment with minimal pain.  For more information, visit our website.

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